Friday, November 1, 2013

What Exactly is a Novelette?

One of my current WIP is an SF novelette. I completed the novelette while world building my quasi-steampunk novel. Now that I'm 50+ pages into the novel (yeah!), I feel the novelette has fermented long enough and is ready to be critiqued at DFWWW. Last Wednesday, before I read three scenes, I opened by saying "This is a SF novelette". Another author asked the question I had anticipated.
"What's a novelette?"
I knew this would eventually come up, because as I was writing the story (and the word count exceeded 10,000 - a rare occurrence for brevity-fiend like me) I, too, had wondered exactly what I was writing. I did some research.
Word Count
1 - 500
I've seen several short story markets define it as such. 
500 - 1500
Again, standard in short story markets
1500 - 7500
Short Story
The Hugo Awards (actually, their definition says 'works of fiction of fewer than 7,500 words')
7500 - 17,500
Again, the Hugo's and this time its an accurate word account (per "Hugo Award for Best Novelette" Wikipedia article)
17,500 - 40,000
Wikipedia again, only the article is titled "Hugo Award for Best Novella" 
Hell, we all know this, don't we? 

Be it a novelette or novella, they are danged difficult to sell. Currently, my story is just under 15,000-words. I'll submit it to Writers of the Future (they accept up to 17,000-words). Beyond that, there are only about three additional markets, which will consider such a long story. I'll submit to each of them. If none bite, I'll consider self-publication. (I hear novellas are very popular as e-books.)
For now, I'll focus on hitting the 90,000-word mark for the quasi-steampunk novel. Reaching that goal will be a huge accomplishment for me. I've lived in the realm of short stories for so long, I'm accustomed to tight word counts. Any story over 5000-words scares me.
Any other short story writers making the switch to novels for Nanowrimo?

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